Here is a roundup of commercial trucking headlines from the past month.
Trucking pollution not as high as originally thought
Commercial trucks are not as big of a polluter as some might think.
“In recent years, truck owners have faced the most expensive diesel emissions regulations ever by environmental bodies like the California Air Resources Board,” wrote Charlie Morasch of Landline Magazine. “A new report, however, says emissions from big rigs pales in comparison to particulate matter kicked out by households and other sectors.”
Titled “Diesel Engine Exhausts: Myths and Realities,” the report criticized a claim central to CARB’s justification for implementing expensive rules like the Truck and Bus Regulation – that diesel transportation emissions are carcinogenic and therefore cancer causing, Morasch added. Released by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the report says 97 percent of particulate emissions in the U.S. are caused by economic sectors other than diesel trucks.
Federal grants will help with some highway repairs
The federal government is developing a comprehensive highway repair plan, that truck officials are anxiously awaiting.
“The Department of Transportation announced $600 million in federal grants under the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program,” TruckingInfo.com recently reported. “The money is being awarded to 72 projects out of 797 applications in a competitive process designed to focus resources where they are most needed.”
The grants will help make some needed repairs across the country, but there is still a need for a long-term funding solution as lawmakers continue to debate a highway funding bill.
“As uncertainty about the future of long-term federal funding continues, this round of TIGER will be a shot in the arm for these innovative, job-creating and quality of life-enhancing projects,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement.
“For every project we select, however, we must turn dozens more away,” Foxx added. He said that if Congress would pass the Obama administration’s highway bill, the GROW America Act, funding for the TIGER program would double.
Consumer confidence rises and that’s great news for truckers
Consumer confidence is growing and that’s good news for the trucking industry.
“American consumer confidence rose to the highest level in more than a year in September, as households’ views on the outlook for the economy brightened,” Bloomberg News reported. “The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary consumer sentiment index rose to 84.6, the highest reading since July 2013, from 82.5 the month before. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 65 economists projected an increase to 83.3.”
Because commercial trucks move the majority of cargo in the United States, increases in consumer spending will mean more business for trucks. This is why the demand for CDL trained truck drivers is continuing to rise, making this an ideal time to consider becoming a commercial truck driver and completing the training program at US Truck.
“Continued progress in the labor market, gains in stock portfolios and a decline in gasoline prices have buoyed household confidence in recent months,” Bloomberg added. “Improving outlooks may mean Americans feel more comfortable about boosting their spending, which accounts for 70 percent of the economy.”
One reason for the growth in consumer confidence is a better employment situation across the country.
“Consumer sentiment is beginning to increase, and that is a reflection of the improving employment situation, and lower gas prices are a plus as well,” said Michelle Girard, chief U.S. economist at RBS Securities Inc. “We’re more upbeat about the consumer than we have been because the pieces finally do seem to be falling together.”
More cargo moving across America
More cargo is being shipped across the nation these days, including trucks and trains.
America is shipping more cargo these days, and even the movement of goods on other forms of transportations, such as trains, is good news for the commercial truck industry.
“Intermodal rail traffic levels remained strong in August, hitting new highs or coming close to it, according to the Association of American Railroads,” TruckingInfo.com reported last month. “U.S. railroads originated 1.08 million containers and trailers during the month, up 4.3 percent or 44,520 carloads, compared with the same time a year ago. The weekly average of 268,922 intermodal units in August was the second highest on record, slightly behind the June 2014 record.”
Commercial trucks ship the majority of goods in the country, but the fact that America’s railroad system is also growing means that more goods are being moved across the country.